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In three shaken U.S. cities, Lady Gaga tries to channel 'fury into hope'

10 Comments
By Barbara Goldberg

In El Paso, Texas, there are books for third-grade students, many of whom have none at home. Disabled students in Dayton, Ohio, will get bouncy chairs to help calm them for learning. Science kits will go to fifth graders in Gilroy, California.

Those are just three of a series of local classroom initiatives that Grammy-winning singer Lady Gaga has pledged to fund as students in those shaken communities, the latest U.S. cities to endure mass shootings, go back to school this week.

Her aim is to bring a measure of hope to places devastated by an extraordinary week of mass shootings in a country numbed by a steady beat of news about gun violence.

"I want to channel my confusion, frustration, and fury into hope," Gaga said on Facebook, where she announced the donation from her Born This Way Foundation in partnership with nonprofit DonorsChoose.

Gaga pledged to "fully fund" 162 school projects, including requests made by teachers from 125 classrooms in El Paso, 14 classrooms in Dayton and 23 classrooms in Gilroy.

The value of the total donation was not disclosed. DonorsChoose did not respond to a Reuters question on the matter.

Back-to-back mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton a week ago left 31 dead. Three more were killed when a gunman opened fire at a food festival in Gilroy the previous weekend.

The dead included three young people of school age. A 6-year-old boy, Stephen Romero, was playing near a bounce house at the Gilroy Garlic Festival when he was killed. A 13-year-old girl, Keyla Salazar, also died. In El Paso, Javier Amir Rodriguez, 15, was killed.

Beyond the 34 people who died and at least 65 who were wounded, the shootings likely had a psychological impact on young people of the three cities that endured the attacks.

Gaga urged her Facebook followers to seek any mental health help they might need to recover. She said classroom donations would give teachers "the support they need to inspire their students to work together and bring their dreams to life."

DonorsChoose, a charity started in 2000 by a Bronx public school teacher who wanted his students to read "Little House on the Prairie" but could afford only a single copy, said tragedies like the recent mass shootings could ultimately reveal some of humanity's redeeming traits.

"To know that strangers from across the country – let alone someone like Lady Gaga and Born This Way Foundation – want to express a random act of kindness to you and your community is a reminder that there are many more people who want to do good in the world," said Christopher Pearsall, vice president of DonorsChoose.

Many of the projects were already receiving partial funding from other foundations and Gaga paid the rest of the tab, according to the DonorsChoose website. Among those that Gaga chose to full fund is a $462 project at Whitaker Elementary School in El Paso.

"I am a third-grade teacher in an impoverished elementary school," Rebeca Blanco-Grijalva said in her appeal for her classroom library on behalf of students who have no books at home. "My students are inquisitive, voracious readers who are craving to discover the newest adventure in their favorite book series."

Students with cognitive and physical disabilities may benefit from a $862 project to outfit a classroom at North Dayton School of Discovery with an "active chair," a "wobble chair," "bouncy bands for chairs," a weighted fleece blanket and other equipment for pupils who have difficulty sitting still.

"My students have rough edges and beautiful hearts," their teacher said. "My students live hard lives and come to school looking for love as much as they do an education."

Gaga is also helping to send "Museum of Science" kits for solving a mock pandemic outbreak of a newly discovered virus.

The $752 project "will allow them to practice collaboration, solutions-based thinking, empathy and have fun!" teacher Nicole Pearson said in her appeal.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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It’s great that she is doing this. I visited the website and found it shameful that teachers at public schools have to basically beg for money for some of the simplest things. The American government is wasting money here and there while not focusing on what’s really important, the education of kids. Good for her to shine a light on this website, and good for her fans for adding to her original donation.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

It would also be great if people like Lady Gaga came out against all the violent action movies that make billions of dollars for Hollywood. Movies that are ablaze with blinding explosions, high-power weaponry killing “alien forces” amid casual joking one-liners by the “heroes”.

But that’s okay? You don’t think that desensitizes young people to violence and firearms??

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Lady Gaga has pledged to fund as students in those shaken communities,

Gaga pledged to "fully fund" 162 school projects,

Among those that Gaga chose to full fund is a $462 project at Whitaker Elementary School in El Paso.

'Pledge' doesn't necessarily mean she has given anything. We know she (may) have given a measly 462dollars, hardly worth mentioning

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Gaga pledged to "fully fund" 162 school projects, including requests made by teachers from 125 classrooms in El Paso, 14 classrooms in Dayton and 23 classrooms in Gilroy.

She has made this pledge, no reason for us to assume she won't deliver on it. A lot of people will be watching, and if she doesn't carry through, social media will be merciless.

I'm not a fan of Lady Gaga's music, but I say kudos to her for trying something positive. Of course what's really needed in the US is gun law reform, but in the absence of that people do what they can.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

cant see any harm, but like allot of what these celebrities do, probably wont amount to anything. I think Sean Penn was going hard and "helping" Haiti, seems nothing ever came of that. He got to pick a cause though, you know a celebrity isnt a celebrity without a cause.

She could buy abandoned homes in Detroit, and then raise money to create inner city trade schools that train and pay machine operators to tear down abandoned buildings and create opportunities.

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

The $752 project "will allow them to practice collaboration, solutions-based thinking, empathy and have fun!" teacher Nicole Pearson said in her appeal.

Every bit helps. Well done to Gaga and all involved.

The key word here is "empathy".

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Good for Gaga.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Disabled students in Dayton, Ohio, will get bouncy chairs to help calm them for learning.

Yeah... not sure how bouncing chairs helps calm anybody, but cool story bro.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Yes the wealthy disappear here in times of public need. When they do show up  it's for their own ego. The Lady Gaged could outfit more.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I only know of Michael Jackson and Bill Gates who have delivered on their pledge. All others came to nothing.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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